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The International Pulsar Timing Array: First data release

Verbiest, J. P. W. and Mingarelli, C. M. F. (2016) The International Pulsar Timing Array: First data release. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 458 (2). pp. 1267-1288. ISSN 0035-8711.

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The highly stable spin of neutron stars can be exploited for a variety of (astro)physical investigations. In particular, arrays of pulsars with rotational periods of the order of milliseconds can be used to detect correlated signals such as those caused by gravitational waves. Three such ‘pulsar timing arrays’ (PTAs) have been set up around the world over the past decades and collectively form the ‘International’ PTA (IPTA). In this paper, we describe the first joint analysis of the data from the three regional PTAs, i.e. of the first IPTA data set. We describe the available PTA data, the approach presently followed for its combination and suggest improvements for future PTA research. Particular attention is paid to subtle details (such as underestimation of measurement uncertainty and long-period noise) that have often been ignored but which become important in this unprecedentedly large and inhomogeneous data set. We identify and describe in detail several factors that complicate IPTA research and provide recommendations for future pulsar timing efforts. The first IPTA data release presented here (and available online) is used to demonstrate the IPTA's potential of improving upon gravitational-wave limits placed by individual PTAs by a factor of ∼2 and provides a 2σ limit on the dimensionless amplitude of a stochastic gravitational-wave background of 1.7 × 10^(−15) at a frequency of 1 yr^(−1). This is 1.7 times less constraining than the limit placed by Shannon et al., due mostly to the more recent, high-quality data they used.

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Mingarelli, C. M. F.0000-0002-4307-1322
Additional Information:© 2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2016 February 10. Received 2016 February 10. In original form 2015 December 10. First published online February 15, 2016. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the NSF operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. The AO is operated by SRI International under a cooperative agreement with the NSF (AST-1100968), and in alliance with Ana G. Méndez-Universidad Metropolitana, and the Universities Space Research Association. The Parkes telescope is part of the Australia Telescope which is funded by the Commonwealth Government for operation as a National Facility managed by CSIRO. Part of this work is based on observations with the 100-m telescope of the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR) at Effelsberg. Access to the Lovell Telescope and pulsar research at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics is supported through an STFC consolidated grant. The Nançay radio telescope is operated by the Paris Observatory, associated with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and acknowledges financial support from the ‘Programme National de Cosmologie et Galaxies (PNCG)’ and ‘Gravitation, Références, Astronomie, Métrologie (GRAM)’ programmes of CNRS/INSU, France. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the Région Centre. The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope is operated by the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (ASTRON) with support from the NWO. Some of the work reported in this paper was supported by the ERC Advanced Grant ‘LEAP’, Grant Agreement Number 227947 (PI Kramer). This work was partially supported through the National Science Foundation (NSF) PIRE program award number 0968296 and the NSF Physics Frontier Center award number 1430284. Part of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Several plots in this paper were prepared based on data gathered from the ATNF pulsar catalogue, available online at: The authors acknowledge careful reading of and useful comments on the draft by Bill Coles and an anonymous referee. RvH is supported by NASA Einstein Fellowship grant PF3-140116. Portions of this research were carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. J-BW is supported by NSFC project no. 11403086 and the West Light Foundation CAS XBBS201322. RNC acknowledges the support of the International Max Planck Research School Bonn/Cologne and the Bonn-Cologne Graduate School. NDRB is supported by a Curtin Research Fellowship. TD was partially supported through the NSF PIRE programme award number 0968296. JAE acknowledges support by NASA through Einstein Fellowship grant PF4-150120. JRG's work is supported by the Royal Society. MEG was partly funded by an NSERC PDF award. JWTH and SAS acknowledge funding from an NWO Vidi fellowship. JWTH and CGB acknowledge funding from ERC Starting Grant ‘DRAGNET’ (337062; PI Hessels). PDL and PR are supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project DP140102578. PL acknowledges the support of IMPRS Bonn/Cologne. KJL gratefully acknowledges support from the National Basic Research Program of China, 973 Program, 2015CB857101 and NSFC 11373011. KL acknowledges the financial support by the European Research Council for the ERC Synergy Grant BlackHoleCam under contract no. 610058. CMFM was supported by a Marie-Curie International Outgoing Fellowship within the European Union Seventh Framework Programme. SO is supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. AS is supported by a University Research Fellowship of the Royal Society. JS was partly supported through the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium. Pulsar research at UBC is supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant and Discovery Accelerator Supplement and by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. SRT is supported by an appointment to the NASA Postdoctoral Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, administered by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities through a contract with NASA. MV acknowledges support from the JPL RTD programme. YW was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) award number 11503007. LW and XJZ acknowledge funding support from the Australian Research Council and computing support from the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre at WA. XPY acknowledges support by NNSF of China (U1231120) and FRFCU (XDJK2015B012).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)UNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Netherlands Foundation for Research in AstronomyUNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)UNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)227947
NASA Einstein FellowshipPF3-140116
National Natural Science Foundation of China11403086
Chinese Academy of Sciences West Light FoundationXBBS201322
International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Astronomy and AstrophysicsUNSPECIFIED
Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics and AstronomyUNSPECIFIED
Curtin Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Max-Planck-Institut für RadioastronomieUNSPECIFIED
NASA Einstein FellowshipPF4-150120
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)337062
Australian Research CouncilDP140102578
National Basic Research Program of China 973 Program2015CB857101
National Natural Science Foundation of China11373011
European Research Council (ERC)610058
Marie Curie FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Alexander von Humboldt FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Wisconsin Space Grant ConsortiumUNSPECIFIED
Discovery Accelerator SupplementUNSPECIFIED
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR)UNSPECIFIED
NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Oak Ridge Associated UniversitiesUNSPECIFIED
JPL Research and Technology Development FundUNSPECIFIED
National Natural Science Foundation of China11503007
National Natural Science Foundation of ChinaU1231120
Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (FRFCU)XDJK2015B012
Institut national des sciences de l'Univers (INSU)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords: methods: data analysis pulsars: general
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Space Radiation Laboratory2016-31
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160603-071602619
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Official Citation:J. P. W. Verbiest, L. Lentati, G. Hobbs, R. van Haasteren, P. B. Demorest, G. H. Janssen, J.-B. Wang, G. Desvignes, R. N. Caballero, M. J. Keith, D. J. Champion, Z. Arzoumanian, S. Babak, C. G. Bassa, N. D. R. Bhat, A. Brazier, P. Brem, M. Burgay, S. Burke-Spolaor, S. J. Chamberlin, S. Chatterjee, B. Christy, I. Cognard, J. M. Cordes, S. Dai, T. Dolch, J. A. Ellis, R. D. Ferdman, E. Fonseca, J. R. Gair, N. E. Garver-Daniels, P. Gentile, M. E. Gonzalez, E. Graikou, L. Guillemot, J. W. T. Hessels, G. Jones, R. Karuppusamy, M. Kerr, M. Kramer, M. T. Lam, P. D. Lasky, A. Lassus, P. Lazarus, T. J. W. Lazio, K. J. Lee, L. Levin, K. Liu, R. S. Lynch, A. G. Lyne, J. Mckee, M. A. McLaughlin, S. T. McWilliams, D. R. Madison, R. N. Manchester, C. M. F. Mingarelli, D. J. Nice, S. Osłowski, N. T. Palliyaguru, T. T. Pennucci, B. B. P. Perera, D. Perrodin, A. Possenti, A. Petiteau, S. M. Ransom, D. Reardon, P. A. Rosado, S. A. Sanidas, A. Sesana, G. Shaifullah, R. M. Shannon, X. Siemens, J. Simon, R. Smits, R. Spiewak, I. H. Stairs, B. W. Stappers, D. R. Stinebring, K. Stovall, J. K. Swiggum, S. R. Taylor, G. Theureau, C. Tiburzi, L. Toomey, M. Vallisneri, W. van Straten, A. Vecchio, Y. Wang, L. Wen, X. P. You, W. W. Zhu, and X.-J. Zhu The International Pulsar Timing Array: First data release MNRAS (May 11, 2016) Vol. 458 1267-1288 doi:10.1093/mnras/stw347 first published online February 15, 2016
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:67633
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:03 Jun 2016 16:46
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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